Control the “inside channel,” or the space between your opponent’s arms and legs.
Controlling the “inside channel,” or “inside position,” means dominating the space between your opponent’s legs or under their armpits. It gives you greater options for advancing position and sweeping, as well as reducing the offensive effectiveness of your opponent’s arms and legs.
Controlling the inside channel allows you to access the levers on your opponent’s body, while denying them control of your levers. This is a great way to elevate or redirect your opponent, and is an effective strategy against larger or stronger opponents. It also leads to many different guards and leg entanglements.
To obtain inside channel control, it is important to develop the skill of pummelling. This is the act of redirecting levers and “swimming” your levers to the inside channel. Pummelling is a fundamentally crucial aspect of grappling, and occurs in standing, top, and bottom positions.
Here are some examples of inside channel control:
- Double underhooks on a standing or kneeling opponent
- Knee cut passing with an underhook on the far side arm
- Playing butterfly guard with both feet on the inside
- Butterfly half guard
- X guard and single leg X guard
- Numerous offensive leg entanglements where feet are hidden.
In general, if you are using your body as a wedge to separate your opponent’s arms or legs from connecting, that’s inside channel control.
Inside channel control works because:
- It creates lever control over your opponent.
- It denies your opponent lever control.
- It gives you greater options for mobility. Putting yourself on the inside prevents your opponent’s arms and legs from stifling your movement, meaning you can more easily transition to other positions.
- It allows you to close the distance. When you control the inside channel, it’s much harder for your opponent to establish arm/leg frames to make space.
- It allows you to control your opponent’s core. By controlling the inside channel, you can force your opponent’s shoulders and hips to lock, and create tight chest-to-chest situations. This makes it much easier to pass the guard and advance position.